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DETROIT — Iowa State’s David Carr overcame one of his toughest days as a competitor to complete one of the toughest tasks in wrestling.
The defending national champion and top-seeded 157-pounder lost in the second round Thursday, ending his hopes of a second consecutive title.
Carr defeated Nebraska’s Peyton Robb, 7-2, to cap his run through the consolation bracket and place third at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Saturday at Little Caesars Arena. He was one of three Cyclones to earn All-America honors.
“God got me through this tournament,” Carr said. “My coaches, they told me to get the next best thing. They kept encouraging.”
Carr actually received a boost from many different backers. He was flooded with texts and messages to keep his head up. Penn State NCAA champion Aaron Brooks visited Carr’s room, sharing prayers and to provide a lift. Of course, his dad, Nate Carr, was there to help.
“Thursday was probably one of the hardest days of my life,” Carr said. “I still probably haven’t processed it all the way.
“It’s cool to see that type of support, even when I don’t win and get the job done.”
Carr rallied like a champion, posting a 7-1 record overall. He gutted out three wins by a total of four points and received a medical forfeit to reach Saturday.
“Every match I was thinking I have a lot of matches back,” Carr said. “I just wanted to give it my all. That was it.”
In the consolation semifinals, Carr topped Michigan’s Will Lewan, 6-3, before using a takedown in the first and a third-period reversal with two nearfall to upend Robb.
“That’s one talented dude, but I think a lot of people in this building saw that not only is he talented but he’s tough as nails,” Iowa State Coach Kevin Dresser said. “For a defending NCAA champ to get beat on Thursday night and come back to win six matches at a weight that was pretty darn loaded and stacked ... he came back and showed his character.”
Iowa State rebounded from a dreadful opening day. The Cyclones were just 4-14 in the first session of the tournament. They were much stronger the final two days, going 4-1 Saturday and winning all three medal matches.
“I think we were really tough Friday and Saturday,” Dresser said. “To be really tough on Friday and Saturday at the NCAA tournament says a lot about a team.”
“We didn’t get what we wanted. We came here this year and the goal was to get in the top 10 and that didn’t happen, but there is a heck of a lot to build off of here.”
Iowa State’s Yonger Bastida placed fifth at 197. The Cuba native pinned Ohio State’s Gavin Hoffman in 2:29 of the final round. He finished 6-2 overall after arriving at Iowa State early last season and transitioning from freestyle to folkstyle for the first time.
“It wasn’t easy last year, starting this new style,” Bastida said. “This is the hardest wrestling (style) in the world, so it was tough.”
Marcus Coleman place seventh at 184 for the Cyclones. He handled Jonathan Loew, 8-3, in the medal match. Coleman earned All-America honors for the first time in three appearances.
“In January, I said what’s the difference between this year’s Marcus Coleman and last year’s?” Dresser said. “He said, ‘I just got sick and tired of losing.’”
“He trained really hard. He put a lot of time in the fall. He grew up in the room in terms of competing.”